Do Churches Need a Food Hygiene Certificate? Regulations & Policy Guide

Preparing and serving food is often central to church life. A food hygiene certificate for church is something you may wish to consider. Our guide looks at food hygiene regulations, and tips on training and food safety policy.

Preparing and serving food is often central to church life. Commonly, tea and cake can be served at events. Larger churches may run a cafe, or soup kitchen. This means a good understanding of food safety laws can be beneficial.

Charity events have a duty to make sure the environment is clean and safe. Whilst adverse events like food poisoning or allergic reactions are rare, good food safety practices should still be adopted.

Hygiene Certificates For Churches

While there is no legal requirement for churches to hold a food hygiene certificate, it is very useful to have. Obtaining a food hygiene certificate can be a quick, easy, and low cost way for a church organisation to gain the right food safety knowledge.

Food Safety and Hygiene for Catering Level 2 – Online Training Course
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  • This course can be completed online in just 3 hours.
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  • Meets all legal requirements for food handlers.
  • Course content can be played as audio.

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Bulk discounts available for multiple team members.

Churches hold many events over the year which involve food and drinks and the food handling process must run smoothly. Church hall kitchens are used by many people during events. Everyone should know how to keep them clean.

Training in food safety procedures will ensure everyone understands how to look after the kitchen area.

Taking part in a food hygiene course means you will be aware of all current food legislation. These food safety laws apply to anyone dealing with food and drink, whether it is serving, producing, selling, or packaging.

For these reasons, it is good practice for churches to obtain a food hygiene certificate.

Food Hygiene Regulations For Churches

There are many scenarios where food is served by churches, and an understanding of food safety laws would be helpful. If your church regularly serves food, you may wish to create a food hygiene policy.

Most churches have a kitchen area and however basic this is, must be kept to a high standard of cleanliness.

Here are some examples of how your church can comply with food hygiene regulations:-

  • Have a cleaning schedule for your kitchen and any areas where food is prepared and served. Ensure all surfaces are in good condition and regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Ensure all food is stored properly, and pay attention to use by dates.
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separate in the fridge.
  • When cooking and preparing food, make sure it is cooked properly. If reheating, ensure it is piping hot.
  • Make handwashing and cleaning surfaces between preparing different types of food a priority.

It doesn’t matter whether food is bought or given away for free. There is still a legal obligation to ensure food laws are adhered to. The food standards agency has advice which will help churches who prepare food for small community events.

Types of Event Where Food Hygiene Training is Advisable

Here are some examples of church events which may involve food and drink. If your organisation is running any events like these, an understanding of food hygiene regulations will be beneficial.

1. Bake Sales

Bake sales are a regular event at church as they are a great way to raise essential funds. However, you still have a responsibility to ensure all products served are safe to eat.

Holding bake sales, or preparing the sale on the premises means you need to understand current food laws. This can prevent issues with allergens and cross contamination.

2. Coffee Mornings

Coffee mornings may be free or ask for voluntary contributions. But the same food safety responsibilities exist when it comes to food served at these fundraisers.

Even if it’s a plate of shop bought biscuits and a pot of instant coffee, there’s still food and drink being handled and eaten at your event.

This means it needs to be served safely, and you should have good food hygiene procedures in place.

3. Soup Kitchens

It is common for churches to run soup kitchens. A knowledge of food hygiene procedures is essential.

The soup is often prepared and cooked in batches in the church kitchens by volunteers. This food is then served to the homeless or less fortunate, usually for free.

The ingredients will likely be stored and prepared in the church itself so the responsibility falls on the volunteers to ensure they are fit for consumption.

If soup kitchens are run regularly, you may have to register as a food business with your local authority. This involves inspection by an EHO, and having some volunteers qualified with the right food hygiene certificate will help with the process of passing the inspection. It will also help with maintaining correct food and kitchen hygiene standards on an ongoing basis.

4. Toddler Groups

While some toddler groups are run by volunteers and not those involved with the church, there is still the need to ensure the kitchen is kept clean and safe.

Ensuring the kitchen is cleaned regularly before others use the facilities means it is a safe environment for others.

5. Food Banks

Churches may hold food banks where those struggling to afford food can go and collect some essentials.

While this food will be packaged, it is still being distributed into the community and should be done so in a responsible way.

Some foods may be fresh and need to be refrigerated before handing them out and volunteers must be aware of the correct way to do this.

Which Food Hygiene Certificate Do I Need for Church?

It is likely that at some point you will need to handle food during church events. That means a Level 2 food hygiene course is the correct certification.

This course is for anyone who handles food and provides a good introduction to core food hygiene and safety topics.

A level 2 will provide the food safety knowledge you need, and will cover the following topics:-

  • Food Hygiene laws
  • Legal responsibilities
  • Food handling training
  • Food hazards
  • Implications of poor hygiene
  • Cross contamination
  • Physical hazards
  • Food storage
  • Food preparation
  • Personal hygiene
  • Keeping premises clean

Other Training Courses to Consider For Church

As well as receiving training in food safety, there are other training courses relevant to the church and its community.

  • Health and Safety: Many people will use church facilities and therefore, the premises must be safe at all times. Training church staff in health and safety means they will be able to carry out important jobs such as risk assessments and fire drills.
  • First Aid: It is advisable to have someone on the premises who is trained in first aid available at all times. There can be vulnerable people entering church who may not be aware of how ill they are, or are too troubled to take care of it themselves.
  • Mental Health: Church volunteers and pastors will come into contact with many people suffering from poor mental health. From the young to the elderly, these people are looking for someone to talk to or just to listen to. Being trained in some of the common mental health issues may save lives in this field.


Are church kitchens considered commercial?

To be considered commercial, an establishment should serve food and drink as its main purpose such as restaurants and bars. Churches are largely considered non-commercial as food and drink isn’t their main business goal. However, with many people hiring out churches and organising events, many churches choose to raise funds for a commercial kitchen. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination by ensuring there is adequate space for everything.

Do church hall kitchens need a handwashing sink?

Church halls should always contain a separate hand washing sink even if refreshments are light food and drink only. There should be hot and cold water available and soap and hand drying facilities should also be readily available.

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